You’ve heard of intermittent fasting, but if the idea of going hungry for one or two days a week is too much, calorie cycling might be for you. Former Buckingham Palace butler, chef and personal trainer Richard Kerrigan shares how.
When looking to change your body composition it’s imperative you look at your nutrition first. Exercise and training are a secondary aspect and cannot outweigh (excuse the pun) a bad diet.
The reason so many people fail is because they choose a diet they just can’t sustain. The diet is either way too restrictive, and once they have finished, they put all the weight back on again or they try to change too much too quickly and don’t even make it to the end, falling off track after only a few weeks in.
They may then start again a few months later and go back and forth like this, which is called yo-yo dieting. The issue with yo-yo dieting is that every time you start afresh it gets harder and harder because you can tend to lose confidence and struggle to build up the motivation to give it another go.
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Why calorie cycling?
Our lives are busy and one day is usually different to the next. We may have work lunches, dinners out or indulgent weekends to contend with, making it difficult to follow a strict routine.
Calorie cycling can be a really great way to ensure you don’t plateau with your weight loss and instead continue to make progress with your fat-loss journey. It’s also a great way to maintain the weight you’ve lost without yo-yo-ing back and forth.
Now, obviously, you need to ensure you’re in a calorie deficit overall, but the way to effectively calorie cycle is to include higher calorie days and lower calorie days throughout your week. As long as on average and at the end of the week you are in a deficit, it will work.
As an example, let’s say we take 2500 calories as your suggested daily calorie intake. Our first step as you know is to reduce those calories by 500 from there all you need to do is to choose four lower calorie days and three higher calorie days, which could look like this:
Let’s do some quick maths and see how this works: 2200 x 4 (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) + 2000 x 3 (Tue, Thu, Sat) = 14,800 ÷ 7 (days) = 2114 calories.
Remember, as long as you are under your suggested calorie intake as an average for the entire week then you are on the right track. I would suggest you stick to the lower-calorie days when you are not exercising and then higher-calorie days when you have exercise sessions planned, as you will need the extra fuel to get you through the session and to help with recovery.
Richard Kerrigan is a former Buckingham Palace butler, chef and personal trainer. His book, How To Crush Calories In 20 Minutes (New Holland Publishers, RRP $40), is out now.